It is true that this was no normal forest. There were trees but the comparison really seems to stop at that point.
There was no forest floor to speak of. No lush, rich brown soils, no ground growing plants in the pockets of sunlight, no thistle or berries, no fairy-like flowers raising their heads through the beds of aging leaf mulch. In fact there were no leaves at all on the ground. But there were rocks. Large ones everywhere. It was like a blanketed megalith park, a strangely un-weathered boulder field that the erosive forces of nature had chosen to overlook.
There was moss. Moss that hugged and carpeted the rocks.
Not a single face of rock poked through. Each wrapped in their own damp green-ness – velvet cover Easter eggs across strewn across the land, between twisted sylvan beings that stretched up from the boulders like old witch’s hands reaching up out of the earth to grasp some small snatches of energy from the sun and thence to draw it done into caverns beneath. These trees were oaks we are told – but not mighty majestic oak of English folklore but twisted and stunted. Each plant a living labyrinth of twisted and misshapen branches.
As for some kind of path, well there simply was not one; yet there were the odd upright moss covered boulders, which rose from the damp undulating floor and seemed to mark out some kind of way within – drawing the more adventurous or curious souls in. Drawing them into its heart.
And there in the heart the boulders seem to create a small bowl – still no soils or plant growth – but a rock bordered bowl – four big ones mark its walls, smaller ones are scattered, filling in between.
So here the traveller rests – beside but not within – for some reason respectful of this tiny natural chapel. Drawing breath and taking a break from the endless scrambling which seems to have been required to bring them to this place.
How long is unknown – time seems to have taken a shift to the slow – and I mean glacially slow.
Looking around, here the boulders seem to shift gently – rising and falling – like pulsing fish scales – but still imperceptibly slow – that glacial slowness again. Yet still there is definitely a movement. Is this simply fatigue or some kind of illusion?
Then there is a flash of red atop the rocks on the far side of the little bowl – it is there, then not there, like a subliminal advert at a cinema screening of green.
Moss, the movie!
Only here in this distortion of time is it even possible to be seen. It flickers again, a little longer this time, enough to gauge shape – an oval? a tear drop? an egg? Then like a torch in a darkened cinema space it snaps on again. This time it stays on. Or should I saw open. An eye in the rocks? A red eye with a back slit pupil. Really?
Time has now almost stopped. There is no breeze and what little bird song was there, plays like a 7 inch single on 33rpm – filling the trees around with a deep Gregorian chanting rather than frivolous twittering.
The boulders start to shift much more now – not just rising and falling – more like assembling from below – developing form beyond the randomness of the boulder field. The traveller watches as they rise. That red “eye” now forever fixed on him, moves to one side, and it’s partner appears. The great rock between them now morphs into a snout like head, and as that head forms the rising rocks take shape and a large body manifests there, then soft mossy leather-like, green wings stretch out covering the view of the trees and blocking much of the light.
She reaches forward and takes in the travellers scent, brushing one cheek, then the other. Each accompanied by the touch of her warm breath. Her eyes intent on reading and processing every detail that is there in the moment.
Lowering her head she seems to reach into the traveller, touching and caressing the heart, entwining their living souls. In that moment both beings are one. One in universal love and understanding.
The dragon drawers her head back from the traveller, arching her neck slightly like a prancing and flirty stallion, she seems to indicate the ground between them. The traveller’s eyes slowly (and a little hesitantly) leave the dragon’s and look down. In that small bowl of rocks there now lies a single large egg. The egg is almost round, has a deep and dark mottled colouring like Jasper crystals.
She reaches down and seems to smile, then rubs the egg gently with her snout. And then similarly the traveller’s hand. She beckons. The traveller reaches forward placing a flat palm on its surface. It is warm, and it resonates slightly with the slow and gentle beat of the heart that is growing inside.
Their eyes meet again.
She is in no hurry. She knows that it will emerge when it is ready. Until then, she will remain the soul in the depth of this forest. Her scales will make up the moss covered boulders of its floor. The twisted oaks, her delicate sensory connection with the life in the world that continues frantically around her.
For her that egg is the future, whatever that may bring; but for now that egg is no more than a mother’s love – and that is enough.
The dragon looks deep into the traveller once more, then she closes her eyes.
As they close she seems to merge back into the forest floor. Light returns at her wings fold away, and the forest floor becomes no more than rocks and moss again.
The traveller looks down, the bowl is empty again.
Stretching an arm into that empty space there remains a definite warmth, and still the feel of the gentle beating from that embryo heart within. It is there, unseen maybe, but it is definitely there. Always there.
Around the travellers neck there is now a leather cord wrapped around a small piece of mottled Jasper crystal. To touch that crystal is to touch love. The love that the dragon mother carries for her unborn young. That love is the love of every mother, it is the love that the earth carries for all her children in whatever form.
© The Mindful Horse